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Keynote Address

Prescient Ergonomics — A Strategy for Resurrection?
Presented by Alan Hedge, PhD, CPE, C.ErgHF
Tuesday, June 20, 8:30–10:00 a.m.

About the Address
Many U.S. companies and organizations see ergonomics as a reactive and costly endeavor. Ergonomics assessments and interventions typically happen only after worker injuries have occurred. This unpredictably haphazard "firefighting" approach is expensive, and because usually workers have already been injured, the success of any intervention is more challenging. Currently, workplace injuries that arise from inadequate ergonomics design costs companies over $15 billion per week. Unfortunately, with some 100 million workers, there are fewer than 1,000 certified professional ergonomists to meet the demand, and the discipline is not growing.

Prescience by definition is "the fact of knowing something before it takes place." Prescient ergonomics is a new strategy that amplifies the capabilities of the ergonomist by using ergonomics expert system software for periodic ergonomics wellness checkups that screen for early detection of injury and other ergonomics risks, which then allows for early interventions, either training or products or both. Knowing what the injury risks are and who is at risk allows for targeted interventions that prevent injuries and save money. Knowing what other ergonomics risks are present in the design of the tools, workplace, techniques, and so on allows interventions that will improve productivity and reduce costs by ameliorating these risks. Prediction and prevention always beats reaction!

About the Presenter

Alan Hedge
Alan Hedge is President of HumanUse Inc. and has more than 30 years of ergonomics design and usability consulting experience. He directs the Cornell Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Group (CHFERG), is a tenured professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell, and is also a research professor in the Syracuse University Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Hedge is widely quoted in news stories on a broad range of workplace safety and health issues, including The New York Times, Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report, CNN, and TIME magazine. His research and teaching activities have focused on issues of design and workplace ergonomics as these affect the health, comfort, and productivity of workers.
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